You are on page 1of 68

Jury

Nullification

What Is Jury Nullification?


It is not only the right and duty
of juries to judge what are the
facts, what is the law, and what
was the moral intent of the
accused; but that it is also their
right, and their primary and
paramount duty, to judge of the
justice of the law, and hold all
laws invalid, that are, in their
opinion, unjust or oppressive,
and all persons guiltless in
violating, or resisting the
execution of, such laws.
~ Lysander Spooner
Trial By Jury, 1852

From The FIJA Report:


History of Jury Nullification

"Jury nullification of law",


as it is sometimes called,
is a traditional American
right defended by the
Founding Fathers. Those
Patriots intended the jury
serve as one of the tests a
law must pass before it
assumes enough popular
authority to be enforced ...

thus the Constitution provides five


separate tribunals with veto power -representatives, senate, executive, judges
and jury -- that each enactment of law must
pass before it gains the authority to punish
those who choose to violate it.

Lets see what some of our Founders


had to say about the purpose, and
power, of the jury.

"I consider trial


by jury as the
only anchor yet
imagined by
man, by which a
government can
be held to the
principles of its
constitution."
~ Thomas Jefferson

A government held
to the principles of
its constitution.
Held?
By Who? (people),
or What? (of the jury)

"It is not only his right


[the juror's], but his
duty ... to find the
verdict according to
his own best
understanding,
judgment, and
conscience even
though in direct
opposition to the
direction of the court."
~ John Adams, 2nd President

even though in
direct opposition to
the direction of the
court [judge].
We recognize, as appellants urge, the
undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even
if its verdict is contrary to the law as given
by the judge and contrary to the evidence ...
If the jury feels that the law under which the
defendant is accused is unjust, or that
exigent circumstances justified the actions
of the accused, or for any reason which
appeals to their logic or passion, the jury
has the power to acquit, and the courts
must abide by that decision.
~ U.S. v. Moylan, 417 F.2d 1002, 1006
(4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1969):

"You [the jurors]


have, nevertheless,
a right to take upon
yourselves to judge
of both, and to
determine the law
as well as the fact
in controversy."
~ John Jay, 1st Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court

"That in criminal
cases, the law and
fact being always
blended, the jury, for
reasons of a political
and peculiar nature,
for the security of life
and liberty, is
entrusted with the
power of deciding
both law and fact."
~ Alexander Hamilton, 1st
Secretary of the Treasury

the jury is
entrusted with
the power of
deciding both
law and fact.

The Jury (of the people)


has final say on both matters.

Why Did Our


Founding Fathers
Expect Citizen
Juries To Judge
Our Laws As Well
As The Guilt Of
The Individual ?

A Brief History

In the years before our


countrys birth on July 4,
1776, England had passed
the Navigation Acts. These
laws required that all trade
with the colonies had to be
routed through England so
that England could collect
duties.
Smugglers defied the Acts
and brought tax-free goods
to the colonies.
England, having no part of
this, captured the
smugglers, and they were
tried before colonial juries.

But, the jurors


acquitted the
smugglers, and thus,
colonial juries nullified
the Navigation Acts
(bad law).

Not to be outdone,
the King of England
abolished trial by
jury for smuggling
cases, and
established special
courts to hear the
smuggling cases
without juries.

The colonists were


so incensed at
having their right to
trial by jury, and their
right to jury
nullification, taken
away from them that
they listed this as
one of the reasons in
the Declaration of
Independence for
separation from
England.

The American
Revolution was
fought, in part, to
preserve the right
of jury
nullification.

Back to our question


Why Did Our
Founding Fathers
Expect Citizen
Juries To Judge Our
Laws As Well As The
Guilt Of The
Individual ?

Because:
If a juror accepts as the law
that which the judge states,
then that juror has accepted
the exercise of absolute
authority of a government
employee, and has
surrendered a power and
right that once was the
citizen's safeguard of liberty.
(1788) (2 Elliots Debates, 94, Bancroft, History
of the Constitution, 267)

Uninformed Juror
Yes your Honor
Yes your Honor

Unfortunately, for our


country
We The People, find
ourselves in this
position because we
have been lied to.
We have not been
properly educated on
this valuable tool that
serves as a check and
balance in our
republican form of
government.

With one piece of the puzzle missing,


(the citizens veto)
we have an incomplete picture of the Founders
intent regarding our understanding of our place
in the functioning of our republic.
Result?
Tyranny will progress
virtually unhindered

Remember the Hierarchy!

God
Man
Constitution

Legislative

Executive

Judicial

We have not been going in the right


direction for a long time.
Gradually losing (through not using) our
veto power.

What Went Wrong?


Two major factors have
contributed to create the
state of ignorance we find
ourselves in today.
1) The gradual dumbing down of the American
public through the misuse of our public
education system.
2) The natural inclination of a government to
migrate toward oppression and excessive
control of its citizenry.

What Went Wrong?

One key element of


this transition is the
tyrannical trend of
Judges to not let the
jurors know of their
right, and
responsibility, to
JUDGE THE LAW!

Representatives Government
Senate Government
Executive Government
Judges Government
Jury People

As a result we
have been losing
the game, and it
could end up with
a final score of:
Government

People

But as to the
repeal of unjust or
unpopular laws,
legislators seldom
go back and
correct their
mistakes without
some prompting.
While it is within the proper role of the
legislature to pass laws, it is within the proper
role of the jury to veto laws which the jury
finds to be oppressive.

What is
our
solution?

Decide to stop
right here, and
quit playing the
part of a pawn
of the current
style judiciary
system, now in
place across
America

Make
a
U-turn

and educate
ourselves about
our duty as a trial
juror, and find
our way back to
performing these
duties as
intended.

Understand that our Declaration of


Independence lists as one of our
Founders reasons to reject British rule
the right to retain jury trials and jury
nullification.

And, our Constitutions 6th, 7th, and 9th


Amendments guarantee our right to jury
trial and jury nullification.

Jury nullification
remains the law of the
land in every American
jurisdiction. The ruling
of Chief Justice
Vaughan in Bushell's
Case (1670), that the
jury can not be
punished for its verdict
stands today in every
jurisdiction, state and
federal.

This, coupled with the


rule that verdicts of
acquittal are final, is the
substance of the power
of jury nullification.
Unless either or both of
these two pillars of
freedom are eroded
away, the power of jury
nullification is, and will
always be, the law of
the land.

If the original intent of


the Founders is our
guide to the
Constitution, then there
is no doubt that jury
nullification is a
Constitutional right of
both the defendant and
of the jurors themselves;
an unalienable part of
the jurors' identity as
sovereign citizens with
the power to judge laws.

Rising, or Setting,
Sun?
In 1787 at a Constitutional
Convention, Benjamin Franklin was
waiting to sign a document that
would hold the fate and destiny of
our nation. As he stood, his eyes fell
upon a carving on the back of
George Washington's chair, a
carving of half a sun. He stared
thoughtfully at it for a minute, then
proclaimed words that would be
remembered forever,
I have often looked at that
picture behind the president
without being able to tell whether it
was a rising or setting sun. Now at
length I have the happiness to know
that it is indeed a rising, not a
setting sun."

When Benjamin
Franklin exited the
Constitutional
Convention, he was
asked by a woman,
Sir, what have
you given us?
His immediate response was,
A Republic Maam, if you can keep
it.

If You Can Keep It


Government, by its very nature,
cannot restrain itself.
The Constitution was created to
restrict incursions and encroachments
on the natural rights of the people.
Government not the people is to
be bound by the Constitution.
But

With Liberty Comes


Great Responsibility
The Declaration of Independence Says:
that to secure these Rights, Governments
are instituted among Men, deriving their just
Powers from the Consent of the Governed,
that whenever any form of Government
becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the
Right of the People to alter or to abolish it
It is the peoples duty, their responsibility, to
correct the wrong doing of their government.

We, The People, Are The Only Power Able To


Prevent This From Becoming a Setting Sun.

Will You Do Your Part?

These Heroes Are Doing Their


Part

They Have Done Theirs

What Will You


Do?

What Can You Do?

I am only one, but I am one. I


cannot do everything, but I can
do something. And because I
cannot do everything, I will not
refuse to do the something that I
can do. What I can do, I should
do. And what I should do, by the
grace of God, I will do.
~ Edward Everett Hale (18221909)

A Suggestion
Read, Study, and Research all you can about the
founding of this great nation. Especially, The
Declaration of Independence, The Constitution,
the Founders, and their Intent.
You will find that the Declaration and the
Constitution will serve as our Ruby Slippers.

Remembe
r Dorothy
and Her
Ruby
Slippers?
and the surprised look on her face
when she learned she had the power
to go home all along.

Americas Ruby Slippers


are The Declaration of Independence
and the United States Constitution.

But they will do us NO GOOD if we dont


get them out of the attic, dust them
off, put them on, and WALK IN THEM.

Remember even
with all the power
possessed by the Wicked

she still did not have the


power to remove the
slippers from Dorothys feet.

Photo copyright Warner


Bros. Entertainment,

Grant Yourself
Permission
Put the slippers on, keep them
on, and prevent our Witch from
continuing to attempt
to remove them.
In fact, DO NOT let the Witch
get near them!

Grant Yourself
Permission
We are not weak if we make a
proper use of those means which
the God of Nature has placed in
our power... the battle, sir, is not
to the strong alone it is to the
vigilant, the active, the brave.
~ Patrick Henry

Grant Yourself
Permission

Join In The Battle To


Preserve What Our
Founders Gave Us!

Take Action
The argument today is not whether a jury
has the right to nullification, but whether
or not they should be told about that
right.
In todays judicial environment, dont
expect a courtroom attorney, or a judge to
instruct you on this right. In fact, if they
know you are a fully informed juror, you
may not get seated.
Stealth is the name of the game today.
Know your rights and quietly use them in
the deliberation room.

Take Action
An idea not coupled with action
will never get any bigger than the
brain cell it occupied.
~ Arnold H. Glasow

Take Action
One of the penalties for refusing
to participate in politics is that
you end up being governed by
your inferiors.
~ Plato

Take Action
Politics is too serious a matter to
be left to the politicians.
~ Charles de Gaulle

Take Action
The most important political office
is that of the private citizen.
~ Louis D. Brandeis

It does not
require a majority
to prevail, but
rather an irate,
tireless minority
keen to set brush
fires in people's
minds.
~ Samuel Adams

Learn All You


Can
&
Pass It On
Because

If Virtue &
Knowledge are
diffused
among the
People, they
will never be
enslaved. This
will be their
great
Security.

And it is no less true, that personal security and private


property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the
integrity of the courts of justice. ~ Joseph Story,

We, The People

Source Information:
Fully Informed Jury Association
PO Box 5570
Helena, MT 59604
www.fija.org
University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law
www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/zenger/nullification.html
www.constitution.org/jury/pj/pj-us.htm
www.lysanderspooner.org

Book:
Jury Nullification, The Evolution of a Doctrine by Clay S. Conrad
Article:
Jury Nullification: Empowering The Jury As The Fourth
Branch Of Government by Justice William Goodloe